River Pollution | Centre for Science and Environment

River Pollution


Ganga needs water, not money

It was way back in 1986 that Rajiv Gandhi had launched the Ganga Action Plan. But years later, after much water (sewage) and money has flowed down the river, it is as bad as it could get. Why are we failing and what needs to be done differently to clean this and many other rivers?

Excreta does matter - A report: March 4-5, 2013

On World Water Day, we release the report of the Second Anil Agarwal Dialogue: Excreta Does Matter. This two-day meeting attempted to join the dots between improper and inadequate sewage treatment and India's growing water crisis. It brought together about 500 people from NGOs, private sector, academia and the government to present and debate the challenges of urban sewage treatment and water supply. Please click here for the full report.
 

 

Kumbh: time to come clean

Maha Kumbh in Allahabad has perhaps no parallel in terms of the sheer size of the congregation. In less than two months over 100 million people are expected to come to this city, which sees the confluence of two rivers of India—the Ganga and the Yamuna. People come to worship on the banks of the Ganga. Even as they celebrate the river it seems they don’t see the river, but only the ritual.

Contact Address

 
  Dr. Suresh Kumar Rohilla
  Programme Director
  Email: srohilla@cseindia.org
 
  Dr. Uday Bhonde
  Deputy Programme Manager
  Email: uday@cseindia.org
 

Why excreta matters

Water is life and sewage tells its life story. This is the subject of the Citizens’ Seventh Report on the State of India’s Environment, Excreta Matters: How urban India is soaking up water, polluting rivers and drowning in its own excreta. It has a seemingly simple plot: it only asks where Indian cities get their water from and where does their waste go. But this is not just a question or answer about water, pollution and waste. It is about the way Indian cities (and perhaps other parts of the world that are similarly placed) will develop.

How to Clean the Yamuna

While the Delhi government has been debating on what needs to be done to clean the river, the pollution levels have only worsened.

In its book Sewage Canal: How to Clean the Yamuna, published in 2007, the Centre for Science and Environment reported that the Delhi stretch of the river is not only dead but had an overload of coliform contamination. Two years later, the pollution data shows no respite to the river.

The 22-km stretch of the Yamuna, which is barely 2 per cent of the length of the river basin, continues to contribute over 80 per cent of the pollution load in the entire stretch of the river. There is also no water in the river for virtually nine months. Delhi, impounds water at the barrage constructed at Wazirabad where the river enters Delhi. What flows in the river subsequently is only sewage and waste from Delhi’s 22 drains. In other words, the river ceases to exist at Wazirabad. 

This also means that there is just no water available to dilute the waste. The issue of a basic minimum flow in the river has been discussed time and again, but with water becoming more and more scare and contested, Delhi’s upstream neighbours are reluctant to release water. Delhi itself is water greedy and sucks up each  drop that is released as its share. The river is then reduced to a drain for the filth and waste of the city’s inhabitants.

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While the Delhi government has been debating on what needs to be done to clean the river, the pollution levels have only worsened. 
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Ganga and the environmental flow

While going up the meandering road from Tehri to the holy town Gangotri during the thick of monsoon, the Bhagirathi appeared to get uneasily quieter with each hairpin bend; until Chinyali Sor village near Dharasu, 45 km from new Tehri town.

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